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Skullislandraceteam

Laser 4.7 in North America

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Anyone know why the 4.7 isn't as popular here than in the rest of the world?  I'm thinking about trying to start a small fleet for youth sailors who already have lasers but are too small. 

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There are no dealers and no available parts 

the builder offers zero support for creation of fleets

the Opti has organization and races already going strong.

the 4.7 will always be an underpowered big clunky  hull compromised toy whereas the Opti is actually an entire package designed for little people 

The European organizers of Youth sailing embraced the 4.7 concept and didn't a lot of effort organizing opportunities and disseminating information to potential competitors and their mentors.

 

 

 

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With Gouv on this one, the weight of the Laser hull, foils and rig is far greater than the weight of the kid the rig is designed for . This leads to a situation of the tail wagging the dog when the conditions get tough or even during launching and retrieval. Optimist sailing weight is probably is probably around 45kg, Laser about 75 kg, not much difference in all up weight between the 3 different Laser rigs, maybe 2kg tops. Clever marketing in Europe has built up a huge 4.7 following, and as we all know, everyone wants to sail in the fleets everyone else is sailing in.

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Sorry if i missed something. I had no idea the laser 4.7 was in competition against the Opti for sailors. In Florida it is very common for kids aging out or sizing out of the Opti to give the 4.7 a go. Especially at the Junior Olympic Regattas. It does not seem to be in competition with the Opti. 

While not a perfect platform it is an opportunity for kids to move into a one design singlehanded platform after the Opti when the Laser Radial may be still out of reach. The Open Bic does a similar thing, but for a different mind set of sailor. 

 

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Indeed, here at our club the 4.7 is no competition for the huge opti fleet but a next step for those too big for the opti. The radial is usually too big a step for them..

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The average wind conditions where you sail make a big difference.

Our daughter sailed an Opti until age 12. The spring she turned 13 she had 130 ibs. and we send her to junior camp with a club owned 4.7 rig on an old Laser. Two days in, her coach switched her to a Radial rig and she has been sailing a Radial ever since. We sail on inland lakes with average winds in the 0-12 range. My impression is that the 4.7 rig is popular along the coast where winds are stronger on average. On lakes, kids tend to move from Optis to Radials. And there is a lot of light wind lake sailing in NA.

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Given adolescent growth rates, I think the time span between Opti and Radial where a 4.7 is the appropriate size is about ten minutes.

And I figure kids with Opti experience who are maybe not quite Radial-sized can still control the boat in most conditions, they just aren't competitive in a race.  That phase won't last very long, and they probably view using the 4.7 rig as sailing with "training wheels".

Adult sailors often feel the same way about the Radial vs. standard.

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All Excellent points, thank you for the feedback.  At my club, which is not high end by any stretch, there are quite a few club owned optis which are not in racing shape whatsoever, and therefore have no real appeal for the kids beyond just junior sailing lessons, meaning going to regional regattas with these boats is not an option.  At the same time, privately owned Lasers are ubiquitous.  I thought the most cost effective way to get 5-10 of these 120 lb 12 year olds on the water would be to get their parents to spend the $250 it costs to buy intensity 4.7 rigs and sail the old lasers they already own, rather than  trying to convince all their parents to shell out $1500 plus for an even mildly competitive Opti.  I could be wrong.

I also think the difference in speed between two unequal optis is greater than that of two lasers, am I wrong?

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If you are going to support the program and make it go you are never wrong. Go where your heart takes you and the rest will happily follow. 

Note: Get others involved in administration ASAP. You may have to train five different replacements before one comes along who will carry on when you move on.... if you wait until you want to move on to train a replacement and hand off the reins and that person washes out, the program will die. 

Plus... help is always nice and people love to help 

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On 5/15/2017 at 5:16 PM, Skullislandraceteam said:

All Excellent points, thank you for the feedback.  At my club, which is not high end by any stretch, there are quite a few club owned optis which are not in racing shape whatsoever, and therefore have no real appeal for the kids beyond just junior sailing lessons, meaning going to regional regattas with these boats is not an option.  At the same time, privately owned Lasers are ubiquitous.  I thought the most cost effective way to get 5-10 of these 120 lb 12 year olds on the water would be to get their parents to spend the $250 it costs to buy intensity 4.7 rigs and sail the old lasers they already own, rather than  trying to convince all their parents to shell out $1500 plus for an even mildly competitive Opti.  I could be wrong.

Great idea; hope it works!

But your kids may not be allowed to sail such non legal boats in regattas

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Utilizing the non-class legal laser equipment is a start to get kids on the water within a budget. The equipment is similar to the class stuff, but as mentioned above you could be disallowed from attending Laser class sanctioned events. And understandably rightly so.

if your goal is to get the kids on the water sailing then it is absolutely the right path as the cost is significantly reduced. When my kids did a run in the lasers we regularly used a lot of non class equipment, especially sails to fun sail and practice with. We did have full class legal equipment that we would use for the sanctioned events and basically lived in the garage except for the couple events a year we did.

the US Sailing Jr Olympic festivals in Florida do not enforce the class regulations for class approved parts and are happy the kids participate to build the fleet numbers. It should be noted though that most of the top kids attending these events are using all class equipment as they are usually sailing on a national level as well as the local Florida winter events. Also the class equipment is probably faster than the bargain stuff, but there is probably an argument to be made there by some reading this! 

 

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Maybe it is time to form a generic laser class. 

We would have to write some very special rules to prevent spending wars and measure. Most measuring could be avoided by automatically accepting those toys that are legal for ILCA events. 

"If it makes the boat faster it is illegal. If it doesn't make the boat faster or more durable, why bother?"

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At PMYC we have a junior program that ebbs and floods over years. It depends on  the advisor, the kid or kids that decide sailing is cool. 

My feeling on gear is buy a pretty damn good Opti. When you sell that $1500-2500 boat for your 10 yo, you only lose $100-$200. Same with the laser. Like some previous posters, we got a 4.7. It only got used in the gorge at Wind and that first winter every clinic and SLFfrostbite she went to (13 yo, 140lb. )  it blew 20 or so. The 4.7 got used a lot. Yes you spend money on gear but that laser is now for sale for $400 less than bought and minus the trailer we are keeping. 

There are several beater laser for juniors to use. The kids that want find boats that have good upgrades and decent blades. 

When girl started age 9 she had lots of peers. They have all dropped sailing except her. But now there is a great bunch coming on. Some club spawn and others found at HS sailing team. We have had 8 years of growing club school and now a pair of super junior advisor. A young club spawn HS team star is a paid coach for summer youth circuit. Just start. 

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